Location, Location, Location!
Being involved & interested in rider & motorcycling safety issues, you might think I would be adverse to any form of racing, high speed riding or performing stunts of any kind. However this could not be further from the truth, but I do think that these endeavours should not be practiced on public roads and not where they contravene any road law…regardless of my personal thoughts on speed restrictions etc.
Many might disagree with me on this subject, but I do not consider riding at extreme speeds or racing etc is ever possible to be accomplished on public roads…without there being a very high and highly probable risk of accident and injury to either the perpetrators or innocent parties.
There are two main considerations here: Other road users may not be able to react in time and will not be used to other traffic travelling at such high speed. Also there are so many emerging and oncoming hazards on public roads that if riding or driving at extreme speeds, there will not be enough time to detect, react & avoid any developing hazards, of which there are many. What’s more I acknowledge that I have limited talent and although I might have an Italian name, it isn’t Rossi or Biaggi…so I don’t ride like them either.
One of the major contributing factors in high speed accidents is where drivers or riders overestimate their own competence and reaction skills, interestingly even with those that are inexperienced there is this common factor, hence why coupled with youth, there is a high accident rate in the young & inexperienced drivers and riders.
When we take this kind of riding off the public roads and onto a ‘sanitised’ track, then we are eliminating the hazards normally found on roads and so can apportion much more concentration and mental processing ability to riding skills and gaining a lot more feedback from the machine.
When on a track or drag strip a rider can make gradual incremental improvements to machine & rider performance for the conditions at the time and there is always a ride through or sighting lap to not only gauge the surface & cambers but also how tight the bends are, when to apply power and accelerate and when to brake, slow down and change gear, etc.
We obviously know that riding is not without risk and riding at higher speed is also littered with pitfalls, but being able to ride on a wide open track with run off areas and very few obstacles will provide a buffer that will limit the cause of the most severe injuries.
By riding with a known set of variables in a controlled or semi controlled environment the rider is able to make technical decisions and not be so concerned about external hazards…and the more you practice and more experience you gain at doing this, then ultimately you’ll become more proficient at riding at high speed on the track.
So, even after taking a bike on the track and trying to go faster and faster with each lap and always looking forward to the next time, do I think that this has any benefit for public road riding?
Many would argue with me and many track courses will claim to make you better at riding on the roads, but I really don’t see it that way…well not totally anyway.
You take a bike to learn a track discipline and techniques that although could be used for the road, aren’t really necessary because you’ll never need to be pushing it that far…or not supposed to be anyway! For sure you’ll improve your riding capabilities, machine control & positioning but you’ll be improving them for track riding and the lines will not be the same at all.I take the view that I go away from the roads for a specific reason…and that is to improve my skills and enjoy myself and push my own limits in terms of skills, but also speed, all of which should not be attempted on the roads.